Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Cusp - What We Know So Far

Adolescence can be simultaneously strange, scary, and exhilarating. It's a time when people start to mold their distinct identities while navigating friendships, relationships, and challenges both within and outside the walls of a school. Hollywood has presented the teenage experience in all its awkward glory in many memorable, acclaimed documentary and feature films. With an impressive Rotten Tomatoes score of 91%, "Cusp" is set to join the ranks of these classic coming-of-age movies and has the potential to be one of the best documentaries of 2021.

"Cusp" is the debut feature-length documentary from filmmakers Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt. According to Deadline, the two documentarians are both New York University graduates with several praiseworthy accomplishments. Hill's short "One Good Pitch" was an official selection at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and her film "Homing In" was screened at the BFI London Film Festival. Bethencourt's work has been featured on the Wall Street Journal and GQ, among other publications.

Here's everything we know so far about "Cusp."

When will Cusp be released?

"Cusp" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 30, 2021, per Variety. It joined the lineup of the iconic festival along with several documentaries, including "Homeroom" directed by Peter Nicks and Mariem Pérez Riera's "Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It." The film won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Emerging Filmmaker at Sundance. "Cusp" was also an official selection at the Champs-Élysées Film Festival where it earned the Prix du Jury. Likewise, it has been selected to be screened at the Camden International Film Festival and the Austin Film Festival.

Deadline reported in April that Showtime Documentary Films gained the rights to distribute "Cusp." Vinnie Malhotra, Executive Vice president of nonfiction programming, declared that the network was "thrilled to be working with" directors Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt. According to the film's trailer, "Cusp" will premiere on Showtime on Friday, November 26.

Who will appear in Cusp?

"Cusp" takes place in a Texas town where guns and alcohol are more common than parental supervision. A review from Variety indicates that the film's three main subjects are girls named Autumn, Brittney, and Aaloni, who are on the cusp of adulthood, as the title suggests. The trio of friends invites the camera along as they do many activities that teens like doing, such as hanging out at home and driving around with their friends. Since "Cusp" is shot in a cinéma vérité style, the girls often interact with the filmmakers who ask them various questions about their unique perspectives and everyday lives.

Along with Hill and Bethencourt, there are many notable people behind the camera who helped bring "Cusp" to screens around the country. Deadline reported that the film is executive produced by Chris and Eleanor Columbus of Maiden Voyage Pictures. Zachary Luke Kislevitz of Kislevitz Films was also a producer for "Cusp" along with The 51 Fund.

What is the plot of Cusp?

The film's trailer shows Autumn, Brittney, and Aaloni engaging in fairly normal adolescent pursuits many may relate to, like grabbing a late-night snack at the local fast food restaurant to hanging out around bonfires. "Cusp" also deals with typical, yet more complicated or "hot-button" issues like teen sexuality and underage alcohol consumption. Notably, the girls discuss their daily struggles with sexism and fears of assault brought on by the actions of their male peers. A review in Variety discusses the threat of male sexual aggression that often looms over the girls. Autumn says in the film that "girls are scared to say no" because "guys are powerful." Later on, the documentary proves this point by featuring a pair of men, including one who quips that "it's not rape" if both people involved were under the influence of alcohol.

"Cusp" shows how these girls attempt to assert their independence and live as their authentic selves while surrounded by people who want them to be submissive and adhere to traditional gender norms. This documentary sheds light on a female adolescent experience many would not want to fathom. But Hill and Bethencourt have done important work by documenting how some girls grow up in towns plagued by violence, substance abuse, and toxic masculinity.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).